Full fees mean universities owe good customer service

In recent times I had parallel customer service experiences with two different universities: Queensland University of Technology and Charles Sturt University.

It was very strange to hang up from one phone call only to have a diametrically different conversation on the next call with the other university.

Also, it seemed bizarre to be having a completely different customer service experience to the excellent one with QUT pretty much simultaneously.  My experience with Charles Sturt University was a horse of a different colour.Women_graduates_University_of_Toronto_circa_1915.jpg

Many courses in Australian universities now require students to pay full fees, in particular for post-graduate courses.  It was in one of these that I enrolled at CSU with high hopes.

But my hopes were not realised.  Everything seemed a little hard to work out and the website provided little help. These were small dissatisfiers, of the kind that can easily be dismissed until something tips the scales.

The something that tipped the scales was the online forum.  I noticed that it displayed my official full name (the one that only a cranky parent or the Australian Tax Office call me).  Usually at other universities this is something easily fixed – a quick change to display my preferred name and all would be well.

Well that’s how it was at other universities I’ve attended (University of Sydney, MGSM, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology) – each easily accommodated use of an official name for use on testamurs and a preferred name for everyday use.

But, after several unhelpful phone interchanges with different people, a person in the student centre at CSU simply told me (in a very rude manner) to either put up with it or change my name by deed poll.  It was at that moment that I replied that there was a third option – one could choose to withdraw from that particular institution.  And it was this last option that I selected.

Once you start charging commercial rates for educational services a commercial relationship is created.  The fundamental principles of customer service must become part of the equation.  Of course, this is not to say that academic principles should not also be upheld.  But in matters of administration the customer has rights where a commercial fee is charged.

Here I’ve voted with my feet, not willing to give my hard earned cash to a place that did not treat me with the consideration due to a paying customer. Not a very good brand experience, and thus not a good word of mouth advertisement.

So here’s my recommendations:

These are places where I’m happy to spend my hard earned cash on acquiring an education.


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